Background: Prevalence of thyroid cancer has been increasing rapidly worldwide, especially among women. There has been a debate as to whether such an increase represents consequences of over-diagnosis or a true increase. To find the occupational risk of Korean female workers in different industry sectors, we analyzed the data of Korean female workers. Methods: National Female Worker Cohort data that contain information on total female workers were used for our analysis of prevalence of thyroid cancer (C73 according to KCD-5, 6 code) derived from National Health Insurance data. By combining industrial codes from National Health Insurance Service and those from Korea Workers' Compensation and Welfare Service, the classification of industrial codes became to consist of the total of thirty three representing both non-office (NO) and office (O) categories. Both an internal comparison among female workers within the cohort and an external comparison to compare female workers with Korean general female population were carried out. Results: Among 149,258 female workers, 2,641 cases of thyroid cancers were identified. Differences in prevalence of thyroid cancer between female workers (40.5%) and general Korean female population (32.6%) were observed; however, the differences in prevalence of thyroid cancer between NO workers and O workers were not apparent. An analysis involving workers in Financial and insurance activities sector revealed that, standardized prevalence rate (SPR) of both NO (2.96, 95% CI = 2.01-4.20) and O workers (3.68, 95% CI = 3.10-4.33) increased significantly and that an AOR (adjusted odds ratio) increased marginally (1.38, 95% CI = 0.97-1.96). Further, when stratified in respect to the duration of employment, an AOR of female workers having been employed for more than 8 years showed a significant increase (1.63, 95% CI = 1.07-2.49). Conclusions: Female workers had a higher risk of thyroid cancer than general female population but the difference between NO workers and O workers was not found to be significant in most industrial sectors. Further studies using data with information regarding specific occupational exposures are needed.
- Thyroid Neoplasms
- Women, Working
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health